New Mexico Environmental Quality Incentives Program
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) is a voluntary program that helps producers install measures to protect the soil, water, air, and other natural resources while ensuring sustainable production on their farms, ranches and working forest lands. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers EQIP funding and provides participants with professional conservation expertise.
EQIP applications may be submitted at any time at the local USDA Service Center through a continuous sign-up process. NRCS announces cutoff dates when applications are ranked and selected for funding.
Technical and Financial Assistance
Those who submit an application and are accepted into EQIP may receive payments to offset costs associated with materials and installation of conservation Practices. Practices funded through EQIP may include such measures as: manure management practices, pest management treatments, irrigation systems improvements, forest stewardship plans and management practices, erosion control and buffers, range and pasture planting, fencing and stockwater, and a number of other practices.
Through EQIP, NRCS may also provide or cover the cost of professional technical services to design the selected measures. This includes: on-site assessments, site-specific practice and management plans, and engineering designs. Program "Payment Rates" and costlists are available in Section 1 of the FOTG. (NM/Any County/Section 1/Cost Data/2014)
Practice Payment Rates for Historically Underserved Clients: EQIP provides higher practice payment rates to agricultural producers (individuals, joint operations or entities) who qualify as a Beginning Farmer-Rancher, a Socially Disadvantaged Farmer-Rancher, or Limited Resource Farmer-Rancher. An individual, joint operation or entity which self-certifies they meet the criteria for any of the above designations will be eligible to receive a higher financial assistance payment for contracted practices, if selected for a contract. Participants may be required to provide certain tax documents to verify eligibility as a Limited Resource or Beginning Farmer or Rancher. Click here for more information on Historically Underserved Clients.
EQIP Sign-up Options
Agricultural producers and private, non-industrial forest landowners may submit an EQIP application for financial and technical assistance for conservation measures through one of the options listed below. For each sign-up option, applicants must meet basic EQIP Eligibility Requirements.
Click on the sign-up options below to find more information about each, including eligible practices, and application evaluation and ranking criteria. Program "Payment Rates" and costlists are available in Section 1 of the FOTG. (NM/Any County/Section 1/Cost Data/2014)
- General EQIP
- EQIP applications may be submitted at any time with your local USDA Service Center.
- EQIP Organic Initiative
- Special EQIP funding is available to certified organic growers and those transitioning to organic production. A wide suite of practices are available to address a host of resource concerns.
- EQIP Tribal Initiative
- A percentage of the state's EQIP funds have been set aside specifically to fund applications received on Tribal lands.
- New Mexico Watershed Initiative
- Watersheds with high priority resource concerns have been approved to receive funds held in a funding pool at the state level.
- New Mexico Small Farms and Ranches Initiative
- New Mexico sets aside a portion of EQIP funding for producers who meet certain acreage and income requirements.
- Conservation Activity Plan
- Financial assistance will be provided to agricultural producers who want to obtain a conservation activity plan from a NRCS approved (private) Technical Service Provider (TSP).
- Cooperative Conservation Partnership Initiative (CCPI)
- CCPI is another partnership initiative that allows entities to propose partnership agreements to deliver funding for a targeted resource concern or area through EQIP, the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP).
- WLFW Lesser Prairie Chicken
- Producers engaged in grazing operations with leks, or the potential for leks, are encouraged to apply for EQIP financial assistance. This initiative is intended to assist with ongoing recovery efforts for this species of concern. The initiative is available to producers in Chaves, Curry, De Baca, Eddy, Lea, Roosevelt and Quay counties.
- Ogallala Aquifer Initiative
- Funds are available in selected counties (Curry, Lea, Quay, Roosevelt and Union) to turn off pumps using water from the Ogallala Aquifer, in an attempt to sustain the aquifer. Producers can seed their land to permanent vegetation and also enhance wildlife habitat.
- On-Farm Energy Initiative
- Special EQIP funding is available to agricultural producers prepared to implement specific practices with energy benefits, including irrigation improvements, Farmstead energy improvements, Tillage management, Pumping plant improvements, and more.
- Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative
- Special EQIP funding is available to agricultural producers prepared to erect new seasonal high tunnels and possibly implement specific associated practices.
- National Water Quality Initiative
- Funding to assist producers to address high priority water resource concerns in selected small watersheds.
- New Mexico Acequia Initiative
- Funding to assist multiple landowners receiving irrigation water from a legally organized acequia association to plan, design and install irrigation conveyance improvements and associated components.
- New Mexico Burned Land Initiative
- Funding to assists producers restore conservation practices destroyed in fires or by the off-site impact of fires
Interested applicants are encouraged to begin working with their local NRCS office well in advance of the current application cutoff date. The application process can be involved and time consuming. Submitting an application does not obligate an individual to sign a contract.
2014 Application Evaluation and Selection
EQIP sign-up applications are evaluated and ranked for available funding based on local program priorities. The criteria is slightly different from one county to another. To view local ranking criteria, visit the 2014 New Mexico EQIP-Application Evaluation and Selection Web site.